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A LOCK OF MANE BY TRADITION MARENGO'S
A LOCK OF MANE BY TRADITION MARENGO'S
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'A LOCK OF MANE TAKEN FROM NAPOLEON'S FAVOURITE WHITE CHARGER' THE PROPERTY OF THE SHAW STEWART FAMILY AT ARDGOWAN HOUSE (LOTS 101-106)
A LOCK OF MANE BY TRADITION MARENGO'S

CIRCA 1815-30

Details
A LOCK OF MANE BY TRADITION MARENGO'S
CIRCA 1815-30
A lock of white mane, tied in a loop by a small piece of string, enclosed in a folded piece of paper, inscribed by Sir Michael Shaw Stewart 'Hair from the Mane of Buonaparte's favourite white Charger, in the king's stud stable at Versailles / June 1830' and further annotated in pencil, in a different hand 'infinite'
The lock of mane approximately 16 in. (41 cm) long
Provenance
Acquired by Sir Michael Shaw Stewart 6th Baronet (1788-1836), circa 1830
Thence by descent at Ardgowan House, Renfrewshire

Brought to you by

Meredith Sykes
Meredith Sykes

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Lot Essay

When Napoleon began his conquests, he seized the studs from the conquered nations and brought them back with him, rebuilding France’s horse breeding stock. He had a personal preference for small Arabs over more popular Thoroughbred. The horses were carefully trained by his riding master who taught them to stay calm and steady in any situation: guns were fired close to their heads, swords drawn and bayonets crossed, while drums and trumpets were played and flags waived. Napoleon was an indefatigable and reckless rider; Constant, his valet, wrote, “The Emperor mounted a horse without grace…and I believe that he would not have always been very sturdy on the horse if we had not taken so much care to always give him only horses perfectly trained”.

Napoleon's most famous mount, Marengo was imported to France from Egypt in 1799 and named after the bloody battle which took place north of Genoa on 14th June 1800. Marengo later took part in the battles of Austerlitz, Jena, Wagram and Waterloo. Marengo was reputedly captured after the Battle of Waterloo and taken to Britain, where it was purchased by General Angerstein, exhibited in the 1820s in the Waterloo Rooms in Pall Mall and later put out to stud. He remained in Britain until his death in 1831, aged 38, and his skeleton is today still on display at the National Army Museum in Chelsea. Celebrated for his composed and enduring nature, Marengo became popular with painters. He was depicted on two of the five versions of Jacques-Louis David’s famous Napoleon Crossing the Alps and was also chosen by Antoine-Jean Gros for his equestrian portrait of Napoleon at Marengo, General Bonaparte Reviewing Troops, 1802, (The Wallace Collection).

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